telling minor stories to avoid a major one

Top 5: My favorite albums of 2000 by Barbecue Bros

Since this is officially the last year of “the oughts” or “the oh-oh’s” or whatever you want to call it, that means only one thing: we now need to figure out what we call the next decade (the teens, I guess?). It also means I need to figure out my top 50 or 100 or whatever albums of this decade. I’ll begin this week with the year 2000, when I graduated from high school and became a college freshman.

1. Radiohead – Kid A (Capital) – In hindsight, three years isn’t that long to wait between albums. But at the time, the wait between 1997’s OK Computer and 2000’s Kid A seemed interminably and excruciatingly long. This was the last and only album I purchased at midnight (Schoolkids Records on Hillsborough St), and this ended up being the defining album of my college life. I’m pretty sure I listened to it at least four times straight upon getting back to my dorm room, and was hooked immediately upon hearing the first minute of “Everything in its Right Place.”

2. Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker (Bloodshot) – At times, this has been my favorite album ever. The contributions from David Rawlings, Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris are perfect, the music is stark and spare, and Adams’ lyrics are literally heartbreaking.

3. Outkast – Stankonia (La Face) – A masterpiece of a hip hop album, and one that really opened my eyes to the genre. Of course it has the huge singles – “B.O.B.” and “Ms. Jackson” – but the best parts of the album are also how eclectic and all-over-the-map it is. Between its predecessor album Aquemini and Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Outkast can seemingly do no wrong (though the nearly six year wait for a true followup is a little maddening when you think of it).

4. Godspeed You Black Emperor! – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (Kranky) – You don’t understand how much I loved post-rock in college, and it really began with this band and album. Long passages of strings and sparse instrumentation building up to cacophonous, wall of sound crescendos. This was the stuff that got me going as a college freshman.

5. Primal Scream – XTRMNTR (Astralwerks) – While Primal Scream has let me down with subsequent albums, this tour-de-force of visceral, semi-political, abrasive-at-times music for a time had me thinking they could become one of my favorite bands. And Kevin Shields’ contributions to the album certainly gave them cred in my mind.

Others receiving votes: Yo La Tengo – And then nothing turned itself inside out (Matador), Dirty Three – Whatever You Love, You Are (Touch and Go), Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump (V2), Coldplay – Parachutes (Parlophone)

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